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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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Careful Left, campus protests will end up benefiting Trump

May 2

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Protests against the Israel-Hamas war have flared up at universities across the United States and around the world. Some universities resorted to calling the police to break up larger protests, leading to mass arrests at places like the University of Southern California and the use of tear gas in Florida, among others. At the University of California, Los Angeles, the university called authorities after fistfights broke out in an open field between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian camps.

Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid contends that while advocating for change is important, the extreme stances taken by some individuals on both sides of this conflict are counterproductive to the goal of peace — and will benefit only Donald Trump.

Supporters of the pro-Palestine efforts say that the crackdown among student protesters at universities speaks to just how out of touch these elite institutions are with their students. They hold that civil disobedience is a crucial element of collegiate-aged growth, which, fair, and that, frankly, there is nothing more worthy of protest than the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. 

Detractors — and there are many — say that the students are elevating an incomplete image of the situation. And, yes, probably. We’re talking about 3,000 years of intensely complex conflict and the increasing [sic] anti-Zionism coloring these protests is deeply, deeply concerning. It’s not as simple as “from the river to the sea,” when what you’re talking about is the virtual eradication of a place that, yes, has a deeply complicated history, but is also the refuge for a people who have been persecuted virtually throughout their history. 

There’s also the issue of just how much these protests will end up benefiting Donald Trump, because they will. The Right is definitely going to lean into the “Biden can’t control the country, there’s chaos everywhere, the elites are rioting” — whatever — he’ll do that narrative.

The atmosphere on many of our nation’s college campuses is…tense, to say the least. Across the country, students at numerous major universities – including Columbia, Cornell, and Yale – are holding massive pro-Palestinian protests.

 

These demonstrations have resulted in student suspensions, campus closures, and the cancellation of commencement ceremonies for students who may very well have missed their high school commencements as well, thanks to our little visitor from four years ago.

 

At UCLA, simultaneous protests held by opposing groups ended with physical violence, as demonstrators breached security barriers intended to keep them separated.  Hundreds of students have been arrested at Columbia, Emerson University, Emory university, and USC, among other schools. 

 

The overarching aim of these protests is to encourage the universities to divest themselves of any institutional investments with companies that aid Israel’s war effort, whether directly or indirectly, as well as those that profit in any way from the conflict in the MidEast. And people have a lot of feelings about these protests. 

 

Supporters of the pro-Palestine efforts say that the crackdown among student protestors at universities speaks to just how out of touch these elite institutions are with their charges. They hold that civil disobedience is a crucial element of collegiate-aged growth, and that, frankly, there is nothing more worthy of protest than the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. 

 

Detractors – and there are many – say that the students are elevating an incomplete image of the situation. And…yes, probably. We’re talking about three thousand years of intensely complex conflict. And the increasing anti-Zionism that’s coloring these protests is deeply concerning. It’s not as simple as “from the river to the sea,” when what you’re talking about is the virtual eradication of Israel – a place that, yes, has a deeply complicated history, but is also the refuge for a people who have been persecuted virtually throughout recorded history. 

 

There’s also the issue of just how much these protests will end up benefiting Donald Trump, because they will. The right is definitely going to lean into the “Biden can’t control the country, there’s chaos everywhere, THE ELITES ARE RIOTING” narrative. And when potential candidates like Jill Stein show up to secure that progressive young vote…who do you think that vote’s getting taken away from? 

 

It’s so important to fight for change, and yes, to take advantage of your right to protest, but also…being 100% “pro” or “anti” either side in a situation that feels so impossibly tragic for virtually all involved seems…reductive at best. I understand the impulse to put your voice and body on the line in the service of your very deeply-held beliefs. I just wish these beliefs weren’t being presented as such a binary.

 

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